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Federal Court: Canada Acted Unconstitutionally in Ramming Through 2012 Environmental Law Changes

Monday, December 22, 2014

VANCOUVER, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES– The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that Canada failed to uphold its constitutional duties to the Mikisew Cree First Nation when it rammed through sweeping changes to federal environmental laws in 2012. West Coast Environmental Law congratulates the Mikisew Cree on their successful legal challenge to the federal government’s 2012 changes to environmental protection and assessment laws.

Top Environmental Law Alerts of 2014

19 December, 2014

It’s been a busy year – with West Coast sounding the alarm on some major changes to BC’s laws and analyzing and commenting on other legal issues related to the future of our communities and planet.  Thanks to the magic of Google Analytics we’re able to give you our 10 most-read posts of 2014

It’s been a busy year – with West Coast sounding the alarm on some major changes to BC’s laws and analyzing and commenting on other legal issues related to the future of our communities and planet.  Thanks to the magic of Google Analytics we’re able to give you our 10 most-read posts of 2014.

Lost in translation on Burnaby Mountain

9 December, 2014

It’s a bit over twenty years since I was arrested, along with 300 other people who stood on the Kennedy Lake Road on August 9th, 1993, in Clayoquot Sound.  So the recent protests on Burnaby Mountain, with over 120 people arrested for protesting Kinder Morgan’s pipeline exploration activities in a regional park, brought back memories.  Although Kinder Morgan decided not to proceed with contempt proceedings  against the Burnaby protesters (after admitting that it provided incorrect GPS co-ordinates when it initially sought the court order they were said to have violated) , I think the lessons I learned about how the courts view and deal with protests will be relevant if we see future civil disobedience against the Enbridge or Kinder Morgan pipelines.

It’s a bit over twenty years since I was arrested, along with 300 other people who stood on the Kennedy Lake Road on August 9th, 1993, in Clayoquot Sound.  So the recent protests on Burnaby Mountain, with over 120 people arrested for protesting Kinder Morgan’s pipeline exploration activities in a regional park, brought back memories.  Although Kinder Morgan decided not to proceed with contempt proceedings  against the Burnaby protesters (after admitting that it provided incorrect GPS co-ordinates when it initially sought the court order they were said to have viol

Happy 40th birthday, West Coast Environmental Law

17 November, 2014

This year, West Coast Environmental Law is proud to celebrate our 40th anniversary and the many accomplishments the organization has achieved over the past four decades.

WCEL turns 40

This year, West Coast Environmental Law is proud to celebrate our 40th anniversary and the many accomplishments the organization has achieved over the past four decades.

Leading Haida Lawyer and Gitanyow Hereditary Chief Joint Winners of 2014 Andrew Thompson Award

14 November, 2014

The winners of the 2014 Andrew Thompson award were announced at our 40th anniversary celebration last week. The award was established in 2002 by West Coast Environmental Law and the Thompson family, as a legacy to the late Dr. Andrew Thompson, one of BC’s foremost environmental lawyers.  The award is given periodically to individuals who have demonstrated a significant lifetime contribution to environmental protection and sustainability in British Columbia through the law.  The 2014 award recognized individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the fields of environmental and Aboriginal law, or to the revitalization, recognition and/or enforcement of Indigenous environmental law.

The winners of the 2014 Andrew Thompson award were announced at our 40th anniversary celebration last week. 

Hereditary Chief, Lawyer jointly awarded Andrew Thompson Award

Friday, November 7, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory.  West Coast Environmental Law congratulates the winners of the 2014 Andrew Thompson Award: Glen Williams/Malii, Gitanyow Hereditary Chief, and Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson/gid7ahl-gudsllaay, lawyer and member of the Haida Nation.

Canada-China Free Trade Agreement is not the end of environmental law

3 November, 2014

Since FIPPA was ratified we’ve received several inquiries asking what the ratification means for the environment. While the FIPPA provisions are certainly alarming, we do not think anything is to be gained by over-stating the problems associated with the FIPPA as they relate to the field of environmental law.   With a few notable exceptions (such as the 31 year cancellation period), FIPPA’s provisions are not completely different than terms that appear in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), or in other such agreements.  NAFTA and other agreements have resulted in some high profile and disturbing claims against the Canadian government – including related to environmental matters – but they have not entirely removed the ability of Canadian governments to pass environmental laws.  Nor will FIPPA. 

It is an understatement to say we were disappointed that the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) was recently ratified by the Canadian government, after almost two years of delay. Since FIPPA was ratified we’ve received several inquiries asking what the ratification means for the Enbridge proposal, for other specific proposed projects, or for the environment generally.  One email asked:

Vote for People's Choice for Andrew Thompson Award

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Voting is now open for the People's Choice for the Andrew Thompson Award 2014!  Vote up to one time per day until October 31st.  And please spread the word.

Click here to read about the 5 excellent finalists and to cast your vote. 

Click here for more information about the Andrew Thompson Award. 

Proposed BC Societies Act could invite litigation against non-profits

18 September, 2014

We believe that BC’s incorporated societies – community development organizations, church groups, secular groups, community organizations, hunting groups, and, yes, environmental organizations such as West Coast Environmental Law Association – collectively make for a stronger British Columbia. That is why we’re outraged by a BC Government proposal that could be used by anyone who has a bone to pick with a society to drag it before the courts.

We believe that BC’s incorporated societies – community development organizations, church groups, secular groups, community organizations, hunting groups, and, yes, environmental organizations such as West Coast Environmental Law Association – collectively make for a stronger British Columbia.

Who writes Canada’s Environmental Laws?

17 September, 2014

We’ve written before about the apparent and unacceptable influence of the oil and gas industry on Canada’s environmental laws, which may have extended to a suggestion that the Canadian government roll multiple amendments into omnibus budget bills (as it did in 2012). Two documents obtained recently under freedom of information legislation demonstrate that industry, and in particular the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), is still at work trying to weaken our environmental laws.

 

We’ve written before about the apparent and unacceptable influence of the oil and gas industry on Canada’s environmental laws, which may have extended to a suggestion that the Canadian government roll multiple amendments into omnibus budget bills (as it did in 2012).

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